AN Ealing student and a Hanwell man have been sent to prison for fraudulently claiming thousands in housing benefits after failing to notify Ealing Council of changes in their circumstances.

Taha Hussein, 33, was sentenced to eight weeks for failing to say he was a student and receiving student benefits, as well as holding undeclared bank accounts.

As a result, he was overpaid more than £11,000 in housing benefits from 2006-08.

In a separate case, Saeid Eskandari, 37, was jailed for six weeks for claiming benefits he knew he was not entitled to.

Returned post from the Hanwell address, where he no longer lived, sparked an investigation by the council’s fraud team which revealed he had dishonestly claimed more than £14,800 in benefits over 17 months from October 2010 to March 2012.

Both men pleaded guilty and were sentenced at Ealing Magistrates’ Court. The council is seeking to recover all money overpaid.

Councillor Yvonne Johnson, cabinet member for finance, said: “Dishonestly failing to report changes in order to keep receiving benefit payments is a serious crime which takes money away from people who genuinely need it.”

Changes in circumstances, which may impact housing benefits or council tax payments, must be reported to the council immediately.

Anyone with information about suspected benefit fraud should call the council’s 24-hour fraud hotline on 0800 328 6453, where they can provide information anonymously.